PCN and the UK-EU Trade Agreement

01/01/2021

Following the signing of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement on 24 December 2020, the British Institute of Non-Destructive Testing (BINDT) wishes to clarify and confirm the following points with regard to certificates issued under its Personnel Certification in Non-Destructive Testing (PCN) scheme.

In summary:

1. The UK's departure from the EU has no impact on ISO standards and does not affect the validity of PCN certificates issued. PCN certification continues to be widely accepted and highly respected throughout the industrialised world.

2. However, as a result of the decision by the EU to reject the UK’s request for broad recognition of conformity assessments that would allow UK-based notified bodies to certify products to EU standards, new and renewal PCN certificates issued after 31 December 2020 can no longer be used by personnel to carry out non-destructive tests on permanent joints for pressure equipment in categories III and IV in accordance with section 3.1.3 of schedule 2 under the European Pressure Equipment Directive (PED).

3. It is understood that all valid certificates issued before 1 January 2021 may – unless otherwise advised – continue to be valid for their full scope of application as detailed on each individual certificate until their expiry. 

4. BINDT is currently engaged in negotiations with a European organisation to enable certificates to be issued by a third-party organisation recognised by an EU Member State, thus satisfying the EU requirement for certificates delivered by a body which is recognised as an EU Notified Body. These talks are at an advanced stage and it is anticipated that a solution will be in place within the next few weeks. More information will be provided when arrangements have been finalised.

5. With regard to pressure equipment supplied in or into Great Britain, the UK has established a new framework for UK-based bodies to assess pressure equipment and assemblies against GB rules. Existing UK notified bodies are granted new UK ‘approved body’ status and listed on a new UK database. This includes recognised third-party organisations (RTPO), so BINDT will be granted UK identification status.

Click here for further details (download PDF).


 

Previous posting - 21/12/2020
The PCN Scheme is an international programme for the certification of conformance of non-destructive testing personnel which satisfies the requirements of a number of European and international standards.

ISO 9712 is the internationally recognised and widely accepted standard for qualification and 3rd party certification of NDT personnel and the UK's departure from the EU does not affect the validity of PCN certificates issued – PCN certification will continue to be widely accepted and highly respected throughout the industrialised world.

Brexit will not affect PCN and UKAS will remain a full member of European and International Mutual Recognition Agreements (such as the European cooperation for Accreditation, International Accreditation Forum and International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation), which means that all UKAS accredited certificates and reports (with the exception of those related to EU Regulations/Directives and Schemes - see below) shall continue to be recognised within Europe and around the world.

There will be no impact on ISO standards including ISO 9712 as ISO (the International Organization for Standardization) is a worldwide federation of national standards bodies (ISO member bodies) and has no different affiliation to Europe or any other country including the UK.

European Pressure Equipment Directive (PED)
Please note that the following statement only applies to personnel using their PCN ISO 9712 certification to carry out non-destructive tests on permanent joints for pressure equipment in categories III and IV in accordance with section 3.1.3 of schedule 2 under the European Pressure Equipment Directive (PED).

Amid the continuing negotiations about the UK's future relationship with the EU, there is one thing we know for sure: the UK will no longer be part of the EU and, unless there is a specific agreement or further transition period, UK bodies will not be in a position to perform conformity assessment tasks pursuant to Union product legislation. At the time of writing, the outcomes of the current UK-EU negotiations are eagerly awaited, particularly given the added challenge of the current Covid crisis.

Meanwhile, BINDT is in discussion with European organisations to enable certificates to be issued by a third-party organisation recognised by a Member State pursuant to Article 13. These talks are at a very advanced state and it is anticipated that a solution will be in place early in 2021. More information will be provided when arrangements have been finalised.